Chicago, “The Christmas Song” from Chicago XXV (1998): Saturdays in the Park

Share this:

“The Christmas Song” by jazz giant Mel Torme, a fellow Chicagoan, is everything you’d expect a Chicago version of a seasonal composition to be. That’s a compliment!

Robert Lamm is largely responsible for the arrangement of this tune from 1998’s Chicago XXV: The Christmas Album, as well as the lead vocal. His acoustic piano intro (complimented by Bill Champlin’s Hammond B-3 organ fills) is so right, so classic 1970s-model Chicago, one can’t help but smile. Even the biggest grinch on the planet should get a kick out of this one.

The horns are perfect, which is no surprise, as it came out in an early-2000s interview that Robert Lamm is largely responsible for the horn arrangements for his own songs. Lamm has, for the most part, avoided the overblown and corny big-band horn arrangements trombonist James Pankow has been leaning on for years – especially on this album, unfortunately.

Not surprising are the great lead vocal by Lamm and Bill Champlin’s tasty backing vocal arrangement. This is the Chicago I long for. It’s nice to see it return every now and then. Even the horn unison solo clicks.

Yeah, I love this one and so will you. If you don’t, look for a lump of coal in your stocking!


‘Saturdays in the Park’ is a multi-writer, song-by-song examination of the music of Chicago. Find it here at Something Else! each weekend.

Bob Helme

Bob Helme

Bob Helme, a contributor to our weekly song-by-song series on Chicago called Saturdays in the Park, is a father of two with an MBA who still plays jazz part-time. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Bob Helme
Share this:
Close